Cystic Fibrosis

by mhcrawford

I’ll start with the pain of cystic fibrosis.

What is it?

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease. It causes mucus build up in various organs of the body. The lung and pancreas are most affected.  Bacteria gets stuck in this mucus, and leads to infection. Multiple systems are blocked, including the digestive system. Lung damage is all too common for those with CF.

This is a healthy lung.

And this, is a CF lung.

What are the symptoms of CF?

According to, they are:

  • “Very salty-tasting skin
  • Persistent coughing at times producing phlegm
  • Frequent lung infections, like pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Poor growth/weight gain in spite of a good appetite
  • Frequent greasy, bulky stools or difficulty in bowel movements
  • Small, fleshy growths in the nose called nasal polyps”

How common is it?

30,ooo children and adults in America are affected by Cystic Fibrosis. It is the most common among Caucasians.

How is it diagnosed?

It is diagnosed by a sweat test (where the amount of chloride is tested) or a genetic test.


Specific channels are supposed to keep mucus moist, but in CF, the chloride channel is blocked, letting the mucus dry and build up.

Just exactly how much damage can it do?
Here’s a picture to give you a brief idea.

There are several medications, including mucus-thinners, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories. Therapy is also available. One of the best treatments is said to be coughing, to get the mucus out. Parents may encourage their children to sing, exercise, or laugh to help get the mucus out.

Many support groups exist.


Just because a cure hasn’t been found doesn’t mean there is no hope.
A cure hasn’t been found YET.

A group of CFers wrote and sang this song. Cystic fibrosis isn’t just a defect. It can define the entire life of those who are affected by it. I can’t completely understand it because I am not affected by it, but with hope, CFers will be able to define their own lives, and, breathe.